Banking & Finance and Real Estate

Bank issues RFP for downtown buildings

November 24, 2015
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Fifth Third Bank building downtown Grand Rapids
The Fifth Third Bank building in downtown Grand Rapids has served as an ArtPrize venue. Photo via

A bank has issued a request for proposal to developers to explore the next phase for its buildings in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.

Fifth Third Bank recently sent out the RFPs for its buildings located on the corner of Monroe Avenue NW and Lyon Street NW.

“Next phase”

Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank built the site in 1966 and is still the owner of the property.

John Zimmerman, SVP and affiliate market director for Fifth Third Bank in the Grand Rapids area, said when the building was built, it was intended to help drive economic development in downtown.

“We are not developers. We are bankers,” Zimmerman said. “We are taking a look at is there something we can do with this site, or someone can do with this site, to enhance downtown even more so and use this site as a destination hub?”

Although the buildings are approaching nearly 50 years old, Zimmerman indicated Fifth Third Bank does not have to renovate, but is considering “what if?”

“What could this site be, and how could it enhance downtown Grand Rapids?” Zimmerman said. “That is something for a developer to come up with. I think we have always been thinking about this. What is the next phase for this building? What does phase two look like?”

Fifth Third does not have an anticipated timeline for the project, since it would be driven by the visions of the developers that were issued the RFP.

“Here to stay”

“This is an incredible community, and we truly have watched it grow up and become a destination for businesses and for families,” Zimmerman said. “So to be downtown, to be in the center, to watch everything grow around us, knowing we had a hand in it . . . is pretty impressive.”

Zimmerman indicated Fifth Third Bank does not plan on leaving its location in the center of the city and believes the “largest bank in the region should play a permanent role in downtown Grand Rapids.”

“With any changes that may or may not happen, Fifth Third is here to stay, right here at this location,” Zimmerman said.

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